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Featured in the October edition of the Fearless Forum, Amber Hobson of Applied Systems is walking us through her journey of implementing Dynamic Content. In this master class, Amber goes into detail about her team's marketing strategy before rolling out Dynamic Content, lessons learned during implementation, and how it ultimately impacts marketing efficiency and reporting.

 

Q1: Can you describe how you leverage personalization at your organization?

Every single email is personalized to some extent. Our CMO is very much about the right content to the right person. We had implemented specific letterhead, envelopes, etc. throughout the organization to ensure that when you receive something from Applied, the address matches your country’s main location. He wanted us to do this for digital as well. We started with multiple emails for each region to get the right footer address, which later grew into the sophistication that we have today.

 

Q2: What are some specific benefits you’ve seen from implementing personalization?

It saved time for our Demand Gen team significantly! It’s much easier to change words or make minor edits within the Dynamic Content than it is to create multiple emails and set up our smart campaigns to send the right one based on country. Now, we can just build a single email and schedule it in a simple campaign.

 

It also had an unanticipated benefit where it can now flow into our reporting. We can actually do our reporting for email statistics based on the Dynamic Content segments as well. This is huge for our regional teams! It allows us to see how an email performs based on each group. For example, we’ve learned now that shorter emails are perform better North American while longer emails are better received in European.

 

Q3: Can you go into detail about efficiencies?

We work in 4 countries and technically 2 languages. In our industry, there are minor wording changes even between the US and Canada. This means that we were having to build separate emails for just a single word or a CTA link change. At this point building multiple emails for minor nuances was difficult to manage and we would have a single program with at least 5 emails to ensure we were getting the right content to the right person. By implementing Dynamic Content, we were able to scale down to a single email that we segment appropriately to make the necessary regional changes. We always start with the US (our largest market) and then we can quickly run a find/replace for some of the smaller copy changes.

 

Q4: How are you setting up your Dynamic Content campaigns within Marketo?

Our most used campaign is our Geographic segment. We set up a segment to catch country & language for everyone in our database. We’ve had to expand this segment over time as our company has grown by adding other markets. We also switched to using the State/Country picklist functionality in SFDC. One thing you have to remember is that when a change like that is made, you have to update all of your segments. Otherwise you end up with more people in the “Default” category than you want.

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Then we created a Footer & Unsubscribe snippet for our emails as the most basic quick win. This allows us to have unique subscription centers and to include our local addresses in the footer of our emails.

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Then for every email we do, we use that Snippet in our footer section.

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Q5: What are some unique ways you’re leveraging Dynamic Content with Marketo?

We have two unique ways that we’re using Dynamic Content. One is geography. All emails automatically have a geographic segment added, even if it is just for the footer & unsubscribe content. The second method that we do is leverage Acuity to manage scripts. We use Acuity to provide each of our sales reps with their own calendar link. Then we create a segment based on SFDC account owner and simply change the URL based on the reps.

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Q6: How are you layering features of Marketo to make Dynamic Content work for you by utilizing tokens/buttons?

This one took us a while to figure out! We had been using Dynamic Content for our copy for years before we realized that we could use it for our CTA links as well. We have added Dynamic Content to each of our five program tokens, which we use to populate our CTAs. We standardized our CTA to always include one of these tokens (with a few minor exceptions).

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We also layered Marketo features into our modules when we are working in a newsletter. We have our client newsletter that goes out each month and each module corresponds loosely to a certain product. We segmented each module to have different content based on if you do or do not have that product. It gets crazy when working through QA, but we’ve identified key client accounts that will get specific content sections that we use as our QA people.

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Q7: What was the trial and error process like leading up to the current Dynamic Content model you’re using?

It was more just us being paranoid about what we thought might happen versus what is actually likely to happen! We put our marketing team on every email that went out, but since we all have US information, the test results may not always be ideal. We got so many questions from the team asking if it should have said this or if it was correct for the market. I think we finally have them set up to understand it, but it made everyone so nervous!

 

Then, we had to train our communications team how to write the copy so that we were getting all regions at once so we could actually schedule them correctly. The other issue with the geographic segment was that we used to have our French copy translated for a later date, but now we’re providing the copy at the same time as the other regions. It creates a better experience for our client base (especially because a single account may have both French & English filters), but it took some training for our team.

 

Q8: What was the most challenging part of building out your Dynamic Content model?

It took a lot of research to decide how we wanted to start. We knew that building three (at the time) different emails every time that we sent something wasn’t working, but we weren’t sure how to fix it. After digging around on the Marketing Nation Community, talking to other users, and then going through trial/error, we decided that Dynamic Content was the way to go. Building out our segments was very challenging. We found originally that our data wasn’t as clean as sales thought it was, so we had to do a clean up campaign in SFDC and then we set up standardization for country & language across all areas of SFDC as well as within our Marketo forms. We still do periodic audits to ensure the data is correct and have had to expand our standardization to other systems that simply touch SFDC or Marketo (finance system, implementation system, etc.)

 

Q9: What advice would you give to Marketo users who are considering implementing Dynamic Content for localization purposes?

Think through your segments. You have to remember that no person can be a member of two segments so if there is any chance of overlap, you may need to diagram it out. And start small! Pick one type of item to do dynamically. For us, it was geography. As soon as you have that first one worked out, the ideas will just flow and you will find so many uses!

 

We hope you enjoyed reading about how Applied Systems is leveraging Dynamic Content to make the lives of their marketers easier.

In the feedback from our Marketo Fearless Forum: Edition 03 , we received a lot of comments asking for more information on the inaugural members of our Fearless 50. As a result, we have created a new series for our customer newsletter called How 2B Fearless.

 

In this first edition, we sat down with Brooke Bartos, who is not only a Fearless 50 member, but she is also a Marketo Champion and a Chicago MUG Leader. Brooke tells us about what being a fearless marketer means and what that has meant for her career.

 

What does fearless marketing mean to you?

Fearless marketing means knowing the risks and the rewards of trying something new and making an educated decision with full commitment.

Who is a fearless marketer you look up to and why?

When it comes to fearlessness, I have always admired Oprah Winfrey for the brand and the legacy she has created. When you learn about her background, her childhood, and her teenage years, this is someone who had every excuse not to succeed, and yet, she did in the most spectacular of ways. Oprah has become a globally recognized brand in media, literature, and consumer products. She chose to rise above the obstructions life placed in her path.

How did your career start out in marketing?

I went to school for psychology because I was intrigued by the puzzle of what motivates people. My first internship out of college was working in a market research department for a major automotive manufacturer, where I worked on the relaunch of their dealership incentive program. This relaunch was heavily based on feedback gained through interviews, surveys, and focus groups about what motivates them in the sales process. I learned that when it comes to business, there are subtle ways you can influence behavior through how you communicate— words, images, and styling that you use in marketing is all psychology at the core.

 

How did you get to the point you are at in your career today?

I learned a tremendous amount about how to communicate with people through my market research internship and time in field marketing. These experiences helped me learn what motivates people and how to talk to them.

When I went to work for a company where I had my hands in just about every element of our marketing, both  and offline, I was able to bring all that knowledge to helping transform the company from a traditional offline marketing company into one focused primarily on digital marketing. It was not an easy transformation! It took gaining buy-in from areas of the organization that were ingrained in the traditional marketing ideas of print and tradeshows and getting them to try new channels, upgrade strategies, and prove results.

 

That company was where my Marketo journey began. At first, I was a part-time user, “backup trigger” to our admin at the time. When she left, I asked to move into that role, but the response I got from HR was “no.” They wanted to bring in someone with more Marketo experience to manage and grow the instance. I started job hunting—this was something I was strongly interested in, and if that meant that I had to go out to go up, I would.

 

During the process, my boss found out I was interviewing. We were able to sit down and have a candid conversation about what I wanted and what I was looking for. She went to bat for me, and I moved into that admin role two weeks later! Within four months of that move, I became Marketo Certified for the first time. That only served to fuel the fire—I went on to get recertified and obtain all eight of the Specialization Certifications Marketo when they were released. I had something to prove to myself, and to my boss, for taking the chance on me. Early this year, I put myself out there and applied to the Marketo Champions program. In February, I was named to the 2018 Champions class.

 

I eventually ran out of room to grow at that company. From there, I moved to my current role with a full-service digital marketing agency. Every day I get to work with clients on a global enterprise scale to build out and optimize their Marketo instances in support of their overall demand gen and content marketing strategies. I am excited by new opportunities and resources afforded me as a part of an agency and I look at every challenge as a chance to grow.

I would not be where I am without an incredible support network of mentors, cheerleaders, and people who believe in me. I will be forever grateful to have them in my life and as a part of my journey.

What have you learned from other members of the Fearless 50?

This inaugural class of Fearless Marketers comes with such a diverse set of skills and from a broad set of backgrounds, industries, and roles. From them, I’ve learned that fearlessness comes in many forms, some personal and some professional. Commitment to success is at the core of every single one of their stories and is a principal I have really taken to heart.

What are three pieces of advice you would give to the next generation of fearless marketers?

#1. Take calculated risks! If you always play the safe game, you’ll never know what you could truly accomplish. When we try new things in marketing and in life, that hesitant moment of “can I do this?” that comes from self-doubt should not be a question, it should be a commitment. I CAN do this. Lean into that hesitation as a way to grow.

#2. Make smart decisions. When you are ready to commit to an idea, make sure you have gathered as much information as you can to make the most educated decision possible, and commit. Understand the pros and cons and make the best and smartest decision you can.

#3. Learn from failures. Do not berate yourself or others when something goes wrong. You cannot go back and change it. Take it as a lesson. Examine what went wrong and what you can learn from it to do things differently in the future.

 

 

Check out the rest of the content featured in Marketo Fearless Forum: Edition 04.

 

About Brooke Bartos

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LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brookembartos/

Community Page: Brooke Bartos

 

Have any questions for Brooke about her fearless marketing career? We would love to hear them in the comments below.

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